On this day, 12 February 1947, Christian Dior held his debut fashion show at 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris. The haute couture event heralded the introduction of the ‘New Look’, breathing fresh life into the post-war French fashion industry. One of the most significant pieces from this collection was the Bar Jacket; an ode to feminine curves, with a cinched waist, soft shoulders and an open neckline. The piece is perhaps best remembered through Willy Maywald’s renowned photographs from 1955, where the jacket was modelled by Dior’s muse Renée Breton on the banks of the Seine.
Today, in a bid to re-introduce Dior classics to a new generation, the Bar Jacket has been given a new lease of life. To mark the 73rd anniversary of the piece, 20 influencers worldwide will be posting images of the jacket on Instagram. Names including Romee Strijd, Camille Charrière, Susie Lau and Chiara Ferragni will be wearing versions of the jacket from Cruise 2020, Spring-Summer 2020 and the permanent 30 Montaigne collection.
Current creative director at Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, has been keen to collaborate with contemporary designers, artists and muses to keep the Bar Jacket fresh. Most notably, for the 2020 Cruise collection, she invited African-American visual artist Mickalene Thomas and British designer Grace Wales Bonner to put their individual spin on the original collection. Wales Bonner took inspiration from her paternal Jamaican heritage, combining traditional crochet with Caribbean embroidery techniques completed in hand-woven raffia and silk. Subverting the monochromatic shades of the original jacket, she also incorporated warmer tones and vivid shades of colour. Thomas meanwhile, known for her colourful collaging technique and references to European masters, created a detailed patchwork effect on the original black jacket.